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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American intermodal volume climbed in 3Q; U.S. rail traffic rose in week 43


North American intermodal volume rose 4.7 percent in the third quarter to 4 million units, with gains registered across the board, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's (IANA) latest quarterly "Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics" report.

Domestic container volume continued to pace traffic growth, rising 9.4 percent to 1.56 million units compared with third-quarter 2012's level. Trailer volume ratcheted up 1.2 percent to 411,659 units and total domestic equipment volume climbed 7.6 percent to 1.97 million units.
International volume, which reached 2 million units, increased 2 percent year over year. The third quarter marked the first time seasonally adjusted domestic shipments exceeded international shipments, a milestone achieved after a decade of domestic service improvement and five years of accelerated volume gains, IANA officials said in the report.

"For the 10th quarter in a row, domestic container volume flexed its muscles and has outpaced international shipments, driving the gains in total intermodal traffic," said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey.

By region, volume in the Southeast Region climbed 11.3 percent and traffic in the Northeast Region rose 8.3 percent. The Midwest Region maintained its year-over-year hold on the largest percentage share of regional traffic at 28 percent, IANA officials said.

Meanwhile, U.S. rail traffic rose again during the week ending Oct. 26. U.S. roads originated 297,455 carloads, up 3.6 percent, and 261,231 intermodal loads, up 3.2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. rail traffic rose 3.4 percent to 558,686 units. Intermodal volume climbed for the 17th straight week while eight of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, including grain (29.6 percent), and petroleum and petroleum products (20.1 percent). Farm and food products volume, excluding grain, declined 3.9 percent and coal traffic dipped 3.3 percent.

Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 77,404, down 5.1 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 52,881 units, down 3.5 percent, while Mexican railroads' weekly carloads rose 6.5 percent to 15,491, but their intermodal volume declined 2.5 percent to 10,867 units versus the same 2012 period.

Through 2013's first 43 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 16,135,804 carloads, up 0.1 percent, and 13,352,140 containers and trailers, up 3.7 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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